Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
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Posts tagged "2012 Election"
Asker Anonymous Asks:
What do you think of the new reports about Obama and Biden's relationship from 'Double Down'? It seems the two still clash a lot in private.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I’m looking forward to reading the book.  I didn’t get an advanced copy of Double Down: Game Change 2012, so I probably won’t get a chance to read it until the beginning of next week.

I’m not surprised that the Obama campaign thought about dumping Biden for Hillary — it’s politics, and while Plouffe said they never seriously considered it, I’m sure they did because there was a point where it looked like Romney could actually win the election.  But as I said last year when I was asked whether they SHOULD dump Biden for Hillary, Joe Biden has been a hard-working, loyal, and incredibly influential Vice President.  They only reason that they should have done the switch and made Hillary VP and Biden Secretary of State is if Biden wanted to do it.  He deserved that much.  Biden has been the closer on several significant pieces of legislation with Congress.  Obama has needed Biden, no matter how much Biden might tend to go off page (and I think his tendency to speak his mind if both overrated and refreshing).

By the way, there’s no way Hillary Clinton would have taken the Vice Presidency in the second term of an Obama Administration.  She spent most of her time as Secretary of State traveling the world, and the best possible strategy for her potential 2016 run was getting the hell out of government.  If she was Vice President, whoever her opponents are in 2016 (both Democrat and Republican) could tie her to whatever goes wrong in Obama’s second term.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I have read a few times that Jon Huntsman and Henry Kissinger have a mutual respect for each other and became friends while Huntsman was Ambassador to China. Do you think Huntsman's Presidential candidacy would have been taken much more seriously had Kissinger publicly endorsed him?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt, but Kissinger isn’t exactly a king-maker when it comes to Presidential politics, so I don’t imagine it would have made that much of a difference overall.  Huntsman’s bid for the Presidency in 2012 would have been more successful if he had been given more than 90 seconds to speak in the GOP debates.  The moderators loved tossing questions at Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Santorum because they were batshit crazy.  It’s no fun to get reasonable, thoughtful answers from a candidate who is actually the most electable person in the entire Republican Party.

Could Mitt Romney have picked a better running mate that would have yielded a win in the general election?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No.  I said that Romney should choose Paul Ryan as his running mate long before he actually picked him and I still think Paul Ryan was the very best Vice President that Romney could have chosen. 

If I was running Romney’s campaign and I had 100 chances to make changes that I thought would result in a win, I would have picked Paul Ryan as his running mate all 100 times.  Win-or-lose, Ryan was a solid choice for VP.  The Republicans should second-guess a lot of things, but that’s not one of them.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
In 2012, Did Obama win or did Romney lose?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I hate to give the cop-out answer, but it’s truly a bit of both.  Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe wrote a fantastic, in-depth story on Saturday about what went wrong with Mitt Romney’s campaign, and what the Obama campaign did right, particularly with the overwhelming number of staffers Obama had on the ground and offices opened up in key battleground states in comparison to what Romney had. 

Both campaigns had state-of-the-art voter targeting and tracking software, but the Obama campaign learned from mistakes made in 2008 and ensured that there were no glitches on Election Day — a mistake that the Romney campaign paid dearly for on November 6th.

What really stands out in Kranish’s article, however, is the differences in staffing and on the accountability for individual voters that Obama staffers took on during the campaign.  The sheer number of people that Obama had on the ground in certain states (especially Florida and Ohio) is incredible and undoubtedly played a part in his victory.  In some battleground states, Obama offices popped up like Starbucks franchises and that presence allowed the campaign to target the voters they needed to get to the polls.  I mean, I was offered five different jobs by the Obama campaign in October in five distinctly different parts of North Carolina — and that’s a state that Obama lost!  Kranish explains it far better than I can, so I highly suggest checking out his article.

Man, this about sums it all up, doesn’t it?

Asker Anonymous Asks:
When does the electoral college meet to officially cast their votes for president and is that done at the capital building in Washington?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

The Electoral College actually never gathers together for a meeting.  The Electors who American voters chose on Election Day last month will meet on December 17th in their respective state capitals.  The Electoral College meets to officially cast their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December following Election Day. 

While each state has their own process for the meeting of their Presidential Electors, they don’t differ all that dramatically.  There are various formalities and for the casting of the votes and some strict protocols for officially sending the votes to state officials and then to Congress, which officially counts and certifies the Electoral College results.  That takes place in a Joint Session of Congress in early January and that responsibility is one of the first major actions of the new Congress.  That means that, for the 2012 election, it will be the 113th Congress (which begins on January 3, 2013) instead of the 112th Congress (the Congress in office at the time of the 2012 election) which counts and officially certifies the Electoral College results.  In our case, that’s probably a good thing because if anybody could screw up counting the Electoral votes, it’s the abysmal 112th Congress.

Interestingly, it is usually the Vice President, in his Constitutional role as President of the Senate, who presides over the Joint Session and the certification of the Electoral College results.  Sometimes, that can lead to what must be an awkward and probably even somewhat heartbreaking experience of a Vice President presiding over the official certification of an election that he lost — something that has happened a few times recently: 1960 (Nixon, lost the Presidential election to Kennedy), 1968 (Humphrey, lost the Presidential election to Nixon), 1980 (Mondale, as Carter’s running mate), 1992 (Quayle, as Bush’s running mate), and, of course, 2000 (Gore, as famously seen in Fahrenheit 9/11.)

Anonymous asked:  How much would you pay to be able to laugh at Mitt Romney tonight and keep reminding him about how much he lost by? Good riddance to you Mittens.

Just because I voted for Barack Obama doesn’t mean that I want to see Mitt Romney destroyed, or even hurt.  I don’t agree with Governor Romney’s politics, but I don’t wish him ill and I certainly wouldn’t disrespect him.

This is the problem with American politics — Americans like the person who asked this question.  They are on both sides of the aisle and they are equally horrible for our country.  Last night, I found no glory in the fact that Mitt Romney lost; instead, I was hopeful and happy that Barack Obama won.  I didn’t go to the polls to vote against Mitt Romney; I was there to vote for Barack Obama.

Much like John McCain four years ago, Mitt Romney went out with class last night, and he deserves our respect.  I have never thought that Mitt Romney was a bad man.  I thought Obama would be a better President, but there was never any hatred on my part for Romney.  We can disagree with his politics or the way he campaigns, but there is no reason to look at Mitt Romney as a villain.

Yes, Governor Romney is incredibly wealthy and was probably out-of-touch with “average Americans” like you and me.  But with all of that money, Romney could live a life of leisure and never have to work at anything again.  Instead, what did he do?  He devoted himself to public service.  There’s no question that he loves his family and has a great relationship with them.  He spent a significant amount of time in a leadership role with his church — not just by sitting in a pew every Sunday but by taking a leadership role where he gave up time to help the families and people of his community.  Saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, serving as Governor of Massachusetts, running for President in 2008 and 2012 — none of those things were token jobs where Romney was a figurehead that got the credit while others did the work.  They were all challenges that Romney tackled with hard work and, in each instant, he “left everything on the field”, as he said in his concession speech last night.

Make no mistake about it — running for President is one of the most difficult, exhausting, and thankless journeys that an American can take.  Everyone who runs for President makes tremendous sacrifices, and nobody seeks the Presidency because they are bad people who want to do harm to the United States.  Candidates for the Presidency like Mitt Romney — win or lose — are patriots.  They have a vision for this country and the passion to put themselves on the frontline.  To serve all of us.

Laugh at Mitt Romney?  Taunt him?  No, I would thank Mitt Romney.  I’d tell him that I may not have cast a ballot for him, but that I appreciate the sacrifices he made in order to try to move our country forward.  I’d admit that I disagree with his politics, but that I respect his beliefs and admire his passion for going after what he felt was right.  I’d tell him that I know last night was probably one of the most difficult experiences of his life, but that he conceded with class, he demonstrated a remarkable work ethic throughout the campaign, and that I hoped that my fellow Democrats would have offered their support of him if Obama had lost as seamlessly and earnestly as he offered his support for the President during his concession.

We cannot and will not bridge the divisions in this country if we continue to be ugly towards each other.  Politics alone will not take us where we need to be.  There must be some magnanimity, some cooperation, some compromise between all of us — from the President and the Congress to the State Governors and Legislatures, and right on down to you and me and our neighbors.  “Politics” and “compromise” are dirty words because we drag them through the mud along with anyone connected to those ideas.  That has to stop.  It has to stop between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it has to stop between the talking heads on cable news networks, and it has to stop with people who anonymously leave messages on blogs encouraging a celebration over the heartbreaking defeat of someone who put everything on the line to serve his country.  Celebrate Obama’s victory, not Romney’s defeat.  Congratulate Obama and his supporters, but don’t hesitate to appreciate Romney’s work ethic and devotion to service.

We are at our best when all of us — or at least the largest majority of us — are moving forward.  We are at our best when we remember the first word in our nation’s name is “United”.  The idea of a constant conflict pitting Democrats vs. Republicans where one side must win and one side must lose is not progress.  It’s Civil War without violence — but not without casualties.  As someone who knew something about Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, once said, “Let us have peace.”  We should follow General Grant’s advice and add, “Let us have progress.”  With peace and progress will come prosperity for all of our people.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
How much would you pay to be able to laugh at Mitt Romney tonight and keep reminding him about how much he lost by? Good riddance to you Mittens.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Just because I voted for Barack Obama doesn’t mean that I want to see Mitt Romney destroyed, or even hurt.  I don’t agree with Governor Romney’s politics, but I don’t wish him ill and I certainly wouldn’t disrespect him.

This is the problem with American politics — Americans like the person who asked this question.  They are on both sides of the aisle and they are equally horrible for our country.  Last night, I found no glory in the fact that Mitt Romney lost; instead, I was hopeful and happy that Barack Obama won.  I didn’t go to the polls to vote against Mitt Romney; I was there to vote for Barack Obama.

Much like John McCain four years ago, Mitt Romney went out with class last night, and he deserves our respect.  I have never thought that Mitt Romney was a bad man.  I thought Obama would be a better President, but there was never any hatred on my part for Romney.  We can disagree with his politics or the way he campaigns, but there is no reason to look at Mitt Romney as a villain.

Yes, Governor Romney is incredibly wealthy and was probably out-of-touch with “average Americans” like you and me.  But with all of that money, Romney could live a life of leisure and never have to work at anything again.  Instead, what did he do?  He devoted himself to public service.  There’s no question that he loves his family and has a great relationship with them.  He spent a significant amount of time in a leadership role with his church — not just by sitting in a pew every Sunday but by taking a leadership role where he gave up time to help the families and people of his community.  Saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, serving as Governor of Massachusetts, running for President in 2008 and 2012 — none of those things were token jobs where Romney was a figurehead that got the credit while others did the work.  They were all challenges that Romney tackled with hard work and, in each instant, he “left everything on the field”, as he said in his concession speech last night.

Make no mistake about it — running for President is one of the most difficult, exhausting, and thankless journeys that an American can take.  Everyone who runs for President makes tremendous sacrifices, and nobody seeks the Presidency because they are bad people who want to do harm to the United States.  Candidates for the Presidency like Mitt Romney — win or lose — are patriots.  They have a vision for this country and the passion to put themselves on the frontline.  To serve all of us.

Laugh at Mitt Romney?  Taunt him?  No, I would thank Mitt Romney.  I’d tell him that I may not have cast a ballot for him, but that I appreciate the sacrifices he made in order to try to move our country forward.  I’d admit that I disagree with his politics, but that I respect his beliefs and admire his passion for going after what he felt was right.  I’d tell him that I know last night was probably one of the most difficult experiences of his life, but that he conceded with class, he demonstrated a remarkable work ethic throughout the campaign, and that I hoped that my fellow Democrats would have offered their support of him if Obama had lost as seamlessly and earnestly as he offered his support for the President during his concession.

We cannot and will not bridge the divisions in this country if we continue to be ugly towards each other.  Politics alone will not take us where we need to be.  There must be some magnanimity, some cooperation, some compromise between all of us — from the President and the Congress to the State Governors and Legislatures, and right on down to you and me and our neighbors.  “Politics” and “compromise” are dirty words because we drag them through the mud along with anyone connected to those ideas.  That has to stop.  It has to stop between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it has to stop between the talking heads on cable news networks, and it has to stop with people who anonymously leave messages on blogs encouraging a celebration over the heartbreaking defeat of someone who put everything on the line to serve his country.  Celebrate Obama’s victory, not Romney’s defeat.  Congratulate Obama and his supporters, but don’t hesitate to appreciate Romney’s work ethic and devotion to service.

We are at our best when all of us — or at least the largest majority of us — are moving forward.  We are at our best when we remember the first word in our nation’s name is “United”.  The idea of a constant conflict pitting Democrats vs. Republicans where one side must win and one side must lose is not progress.  It’s Civil War without violence — but not without casualties.  As someone who knew something about Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, once said, “Let us have peace.”  We should follow General Grant’s advice and add, “Let us have progress.”  With peace and progress will come prosperity for all of our people.

I’m pretty sure that I don’t remember what it’s like to not live in the midst of an all-encompassing political campaign.  Then again, considering how campaigns seem to begin earlier and earlier in 21st Century American politics, I wouldn’t be surprised if the midterm cycle kicks off this afternoon.

(P.S.: I better not see stories about potential 2016 Presidential candidates until AT LEAST Inauguration Day.  In a perfect world, we’d be safe from starting that discussion until late-2014.)

229 plays
Marvin Gaye,
The Master (1961-1984) (Disc 4)

Marvin Gaye: The Star-Spangled Banner (Live at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game)

•••CHOICES•••

On this day, throughout our nation, something remarkable will take place.  The fact that it happens quadrennially does not diminish its wonder.  In fact, the longer the tradition continues and the more often that it occurs as expected and as designed makes it seem something like a miracle; like an extraordinary experiment that perpetuates itself peacefully and successfully despite the flaws of humanity and the blemishes of our stubborn beliefs.

Across the country, Americans like you and me; men and women; old and young; Democrat, Republican, Independents, and undecideds will stand in lines at churches, in firehouses, in school cafeterias, in community centers built for the public and the normally private garages of local volunteers.  All of the campaigning, the signs, the bumper stickers, the television ads, the newspaper headlines, the e-mails seeking donations, and the chatter with friends, family, and co-workers will be silenced as we step into a polling place and take our ballots.  Some of us will poke holes in paper, some will fill in bubbles like an elementary school quiz, and some will use high-tech touch screens.  What we all will do, however, is participate.  We will make a choice.

That doesn’t seem like it should be all that amazing, does it?  Making a choice?  Yet, it is.  It’s a privilege that Americans are able to claim as a right.  It’s something that many people around the world can’t imagine doing.  It’s a right and privilege that some people still alive today — gray-haired and stooped but very much alive — had to march against hatred and ignorance to gain access to.  Because of where we were born and where we live, we have the ability to make choices today that will have a significant impact on each of our lives.  That is not only a privilege and a right, but a special responsibilty that we have a duty to fulfill.

After all of the money and energy spent on the campaign for President of the United States, the seemingly endless campaigns reach the finish line today.  The candidates have dominated our lives for nearly two years in the most expensive and most visible Presidential campaign in American history.  Yet, this one ends exactly like the 56 Presidential campaigns that preceded it — with people like you and me making a choice.

Despite the divisive nature of politics, we go to the polls today because “politics” is not really a dirty word.  Instead, it’s the system we use to find solutions.  As fractured as our nation is, there is something unifying in the collective act of streaming into polling places across the continent and making the choice we believe is best for our country.  Tense disagreements and heightened emotions are calmed by the singular majesty of millions of individual Americans exercising their right, responsibility, and privilege of voting.  The loud arguments, the angry words, and the destructive vitriol hurled at political opponents in debates, on cable news networks, and on partisan internet sites is quieted by the dignified power of casting your ballot.

Our country has many problems and our political leaders can be difficult, disappointing, and seemingly defeatist, but that’s why there is such beauty in what we do today. 

Yes, there is something beautiful and inspiring about Election Day, and it is us.

On another Election Day — Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, which seems like a lifetime ago — then-Senator Barack Obama told a crowd of supporters, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.”  Whether you support President Obama or Governor Romney, that is still the case.  There have been a lot of problems in the United States of America lately, and there will continue to be problems tomorrow.  But today is the day where we can start solving those problems.  The solution lies with us.  We have the power to change things and set things right because that amazing privilege/right/responsibility — the ability to make a choice — belongs to us. 

For all of the ugliness we see and experience in this country, there is definitely beauty and bliss in the ballot.  We can continue to scream at one another and cast shadows over our nation’s future because of petty political differences, or we can make righteous choices that benefit the most Americans possible.  We can choose leaders who seek solutions rather than those who think our political system is based around a scoreboard and that they only win if the other side loses.  The American experiment is a not a competition between liberals and conservatives, so on this day where we continue our remarkable history of peacefully making important choices, let’s remember that our country doesn’t progress unless we all move forward together. 

Choices are marvelous things.  Whether you see your ability to make a choice as a privilege, a right, or a responsibility, remember that it is also a gift of power.  Use that power.  Make a choice, make a difference, go vote, and let’s move our nation forward.  Together.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
When did John McCain become such an old, cranky and completely partisan politician?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Oh, I’d say right after then-Texas Governor George W. Bush kicked his ass something fierce during the 2000 Republican primaries.  In 2000, McCain got his hopes up because the whole “maverick/Straight Talk Express” stuff worked nicely in New Hampshire, but that shit didn’t play down South, especially once the Bush campaign got nasty.  McCain may have spent five years being tortured in a North Vietnamese prison camp, but he wasn’t conditioned for the monumental beatdown he took in South Carolina courtesy of Karl Rove and the Bush campaign. 

It wasn’t anything for anyone to be proud of — in fact, the Bush campaign did some repugnant, borderline (if not outright) racist things and played to the worst fears of the historically reactionary South Carolinians, but it was after that 2000 South Carolina primary that John McCain realized what it took to win his party’s nomination.

Plus, John McCain is a 76-year-old man and you’d probably be cranky, too, if your plane had been shot down and then got the shit kicked out of you so regularly for five years at the Hanoi Hilton that you can’t raise your arms above your head.  Physically, it’s obviously an issue.  But think about the emotional scars of always having to be the “M” when you and your friends do the Village People’s “YMCA” at karaoke.  (Too soon?)

On top of all that, just imagine that you are John McCain.  Really, imagine it.  You are John McCain and you wake up every morning and look in the mirror and think about all of the adversity you overcame.  All of the things I mentioned earlier — the war injuries, the lengthy time as a POW, the personal attacks.  You have moved forward and leaped over many of the obstacles you faced.  You bounced back from the disastrous 2000 Republican primaries and, despite your age, became the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee — winning that nomination so much more easily than anyone expected.  You stand at your mirror thinking about how far you, John McCain, have come — how much you’ve grown.  Look at what you’ve accomplished!  Look at what you’ve become! 

And then it begins.  It begins with a single, solitary tear rolling down your Dr. Evil-looking head.  That tear is followed by heavier, old-man-tears; thick, watery globules of sadness and loss.  You’re breathing heavily, gasping for air because you are so overcome by a constrictive feeling that you’ve learned is a potent mixture of shame and disappointment — as if the chemicals and tissues that make up who you are have taken on a life of their own and decided to try to strangle you where you stand.  What you are doing can only be described in one way — sobbing.  You, John McCain, are sobbing.  The tears falling and the pained moans seemingly escaping from the depths of your broken heart cause you to hyperventilate.  You must sit down, splash water on your face, close your eyes for a few minutes.  You try to control those emotions with the breathing exercises you’ve been taught.  Sometimes it takes two-to-three hours for you to leave your bedroom.  Sometimes, it seems as if nobody will be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, so you just pull the heavy, black velvet curtains over your bedroom windows and sleep.

But you will wake up, John McCain.  And you’ll go into your bathroom and look in your mirror, and it will all begin again, just as it does three or four times a day.  Your lip will quiver, your hands will shake, those ever-present tears will rush to flood your eyes, and you’ll scream at yourself, “WHY DID YOU NOMINATE HER?  YOU BLEW IT!  YOU FUCKING BLEW IT!!!”

And that might explain what’s happened to John McCain — why, in between the tears and the gasps for breath, you hear him angrily mutter the words “Hockey Mom” and “Fuck Alaska”.  If after a lifetime of service, when you were making your bid for the White House, and you stupidly nominated Sarah Palin to be your Vice President…well, you might be cranky, too.

I’m a sucker for cool features like this one from the New York Times on the Presidential candidates that the newspaper has given its endorsement to dating back to 1860 (Abraham Lincoln), including their 2012 endorsement (Barack Obama).

On a related note, if you really want to wander through history for hours (and hours and hours), you should do what I did, and order The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages, 1851-2009.  It is a very large book (weighs about 10 pounds) that has facsimiles of about 300 famous, infamous, and impactful front pages from nearly 160 years of The New York Times.  If that’s not enough for you, you will be pleased (as I was) to find that the book comes with 3 DVD-ROMs to help you dig even deeper.  Those 3 DVDs contain EVERY single New York Times front page from every day between 1851 and 2009 — a total of 54,693 front pages.  It’s a ridiculous amount of information, and that’s why it’s awesome.

Or…you can choose to pursue a social life and interact with other human beings, but fuck that noise, son.  Get the book.